Updated: Dec 8, 2021
My work at Morehouse has been a labor of love. Through my 27 plus years of teaching at Morehouse College, I have taught over 3,500 of the most wonderful young men you would ever want to meet. These developing leaders start their Morehouse journey as eager young learners and emerge with the burning desire to live the Morehouse mission of leadership and service.
My role as a professor in the business program is to teach Leadership and Professional Development (LPD), a core course in the business major. In 2017, I wrote a book on the subject, FOCUS in ACTION Is Great Leadership: 10 Tenets of Leadership and Professional Excellence. While each tenet is significant and necessary for effective leadership, the fifth, Sell Yourself As Excellence, is one that my students find to be exceptionally relevant to their career readiness journey.
Tenet 5 encompasses the “what, why, how, when, and where” of the skills needed to be, to be seen, and to be known as a true professional.
One of the quickest and most effective ways of “selling yourself as excellence” is through impression management. The role of impression management is to turn the adage “perception is reality” into a positive, winning strategy for achieving your personal and professional goals. Through personal and professional excellence, you will be able to create a favorable perception of who you are and the value you can add to an organization or situation.
In Put Your Best Foot Forward, Dimitrius and Mazzarella write, “Every day, every person you meet sizes you up within the first few seconds. They form impressions about who you are, what you think and how you are likely to act. Once those impressions are set in their minds, they are difficult to change.” I encourage my students to use this idiosyncratic trait of human beings to their advantage by adopting and demonstrating personal and professional excellence.
To convey the fact that there is nothing difficult or unattainable in the area of personal and professional excellence, I purposely organized the subject matter around a familiar elementary topic…the ABCs.
Simply stated, the ABCs of Professional Presence is to be Appropriate, Believable and Credible, demonstrated through your Appearance, Body language, Communication skills, Deliverables (work ethic), and Etiquette/social skills.
All of these topics are discussed in great detail in my book, FOCUS in ACTION Is Great Leadership: 10 Tenets of Leadership and Professional Excellence, available on Amazon.